Monday, March 30, 2015


Panicking slightly this Monday as everyone is asking me; 'are you packed'. Well, no. We're  not. On the other hand, we're living in the moment and enjoying the thrill of being 1 week away from 7 months off. If we don't get all packed there's no one who'll go to jail, or die, or loose their kids. so really? Relax!

As I was packing up my sewing/spinning studio I was think about how impressed I am with my Mom, who moved from a 2 bedroom to a 1 bedroom apartment after almost 27 years in her apartment. I haven't moved in 12 years and it is more than a bit daunting to get just part of my stash in boxes. The other part of my stash is already in storage, so no big deal.

I did manage to get my bathroom bag packed into my normal travel size case. It did take me all weekend, but hey! It got done.

Mixology Magic

Judging by my last post, you'd expect us to continue with the libations. Tonight's is an inspiration from the cupboard, which I can see the back of for the first time in 3 to 4 years. For those following along at home, you'll need;

  • cocktail shaker of your choice;
  • Ribena (3 tbsp);
  • black currant liquor (4tbsp);
  • Yukon Brewing Co.'s "Yukon Spirits" Yukon Berry Marc (or a French Marc of your choice) (5tbsp);
  • knob of fresh ginger - grated fine and pressed through a sieve to make juice (4 tbsp of juice);
  • ice;
  • soda;
  • 1 key lime in quarters;
  • nice glass. 
Use your intuition and mix it all together - I like sharp gingery zing. Divine! Keep in mind that my black currant liquor is home-made, so it has less sugar, so you may want to reduce the amount of Ribena (which is quite sweet). The soda gives the ginger extra zing in my view, so you could omit it. I added just a splash. The lime is for garnish - the contrast of the lime green and pink/red is very appetizing.
Serve Cold.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Celebrate Spring! And Packing...

Time waits for no-one, and spring is really here; as is our imminent departure for Europe. In celebration of both, we are trying to consume existing stores of everything - soup stock to gin. Today I officially (according to the umpire) have used up the last of 4 things - the tonic (hence the gin reference), the filo pastry, the left over tourtiere filling, and the parchment paper. The day is yet young, so the Aperol may also be consumed if we have a second round of Spritz.

We are in the middle of deciding how small we can pack for a 7 month journey. What do you really need, vs. what is for comfort? I did consider packing a bag with only shoes and undies on the principle that everything else is available in Europe (yes, I know, you'd think I'd be able to buy shoes, but in my experience my feet are not happy in Italian shoes and I have no idea where Nona buys her bra, but I couldn't find it); but I think I will have a few outfits amongst the undies. Here's the bag I've committed myself to fitting it all in;

It alleges that it is 56 litres, not including the front pack which is detachable. It also comes with a 'no questions asked guarantee' which i hope means that nothing will go wrong.  Isla the dog doesn't know she gets to go, and she hurt her paw, so she is moping a little. Even with her Easter lamb...

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Salvation Line, Or Maybe The Sacks of Salvege

Here's my latest creation which I've gifted. In the background is the second edition, this one is the 3rd.
More of construction for 3rd edition.

The finished object!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sarah's Smoked Salmon Part 2

For Christmas, we bought ourselves the top of the line Bradley digital smoker. The weather has been so cold we didn't get it out of the packaging until today. I was inspired to try and use up more of the meat - or in this case, fish - in our freezer before we depart on our 7 month sabbatical.

I started the brining on Saturday with Kosher salt, brown sugar (in equal proportions), fresh ground black pepper and some random hot pepper flakes. Today I reviewed the instructions for the smoker, and discovered that it needed 'seasoning'. It stands to reason that you'll get a better smoked flavour from a smoker that's got smokey flavour already in it. No one wants smoked salmon that tastes like motor oil. I had prepped 3 salmon (6 sides). Of the six I rinsed the brine off 3 of them and wiped the other 3 salmon sides. Our weather today was just above 0 degrees Celsius so I elected to dry the salmon in  the barbecue because there's not near enough room in our tiny fridge for 6 sides of salmon to rest while they develop that 'pellicle'.

Pellicle formed, smoker seasoned, power hooked up, alder pucks inserted... I lay a side of salmon on each rack and set the smoke timer for 9.5 hours and the oven temp 150 degrees Fahrenheit and oven timer for 9.5 hours.  After 2 hours I checked up on it and gave it fresh water in the bowl that extinguishes the spent pucks. After 6 hours (there was a little afternoon nap) I checked up on the salmon and decided it might be done.

Its done!

The flesh is cooked, but I decided it needed a bit more smoke and a bit more sweet. So, the remainder of the side are still in the smoker, I turned off the oven part, and left on the smoke and glazed it with maple syrup. Sadly, I think it turned out a bit salty... next time 2 parts sugar to 1 part salt I think.  

Baggage, Luggage, Purses, Satchels and Sacks

I have an affinity for bags, the husband sometimes calls me a bag lady. I've even started to make my own purses after a noted success a few years ago with a red velveteen number and a woollen quilted item. Here's my latest design brief; bag/purse for carrying my new laptop, passport and clean undies on board our international flight to Frankfurt. Passport must be easily accessible, but not too easy; size proportionate to my frame and nice looking.

I think I succeeded, but only time will tell. I was able to use one of the vintage shell buttons my mom gave me years ago, some yard-sale wool fabric, and an old pair of leather pants I bought at the Sally Ann. Upcycling it's called now - I just like having something I made that is useful and pleases my eye. If I end up making a bunch I'm tempted to call it "The Salvation Line" because lots of the materials are sourced at the good old Salvation Army.

It Is All For the Birds

We decided that the entertainment value of birds - particularly the ones we seem to attract - far outweighs the disadvantages and Christopher bought them some more of their favourite food. There's a line up for the feeder with their favoured seeds, and a mess under the feeder with the 'wild bird food mix'. We figure these little guys aren't wild anymore, and they just want the easy food - hulled sunflower seeds.